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A Milestone and Monday Eats

3 Oct

Since we last met, I turned 25. 25!! When I was younger (and much less wiser), I used to call 25 my “scary age”. I don’t recall what I was scared of at that time. I highly doubt at the ripe age of 15 I was feeling the grains of sand slip through the hourglass. Now that I am older (and much wiser), I realize what is scary about 25. Everything in life seems more “real”. I’m at a weird age where the carefree, “I have my whole life ahead of me” attitude is fresh in my mind, but the reality of life’s hardships and struggles are now on my radar. I feel like I have a foot in both worlds. 

Well, a little over a week ago I made the leap into the 26th year of my life, and it wasn’t so bad. In fact, 25 feels right.

To celebrate, I spent the weekend in one of my favorite places- Chicago. Not surprisingly, it was a food fest! The highlights:

Native Foods Cafe

I got the Bangkok Curry Bowl and the lavender lemonade was awesome!

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria 

Love the pizza, love the beer, love the ‘hood!


I’m obsessed with their Iron Man omelette and coffee.

Karyn’s Cooked

This was my first time at this vegan restaurant, but certainly not my last! The food was incredible- the nachos and the lasagna were my favorites.

The Chicago Diner

How could I resist a slogan like “Meat free since ’83”? 🙂 The menu was filled with mouthwatering veggie options. The Special Recipe Wings were yummy for a hot wings fix, the chocolate chip pancakes with vegan whip cream were incredible, but my favorite Chicago Diner treat was this guy…

In honor of my birthday, they gave me this vegan peanut butter cup for free! It had a graham cracker crust, rich peanut butter filling, and a soft chocolate shell. It was absolutely divine. It was devoured while taking in a little baseball at Wrigley Field.

Now, on to Monday! It’s been awhile since I’ve given you a peek into my eats, so I thought I’d share my Monday nosh.

630am: banana walnut overnight oats and coffee at home while perusing Flipboard

930am: post-workout protein shake. This is one of my new favorites. I just blend a scoop of chocolate protein powder with soy milk and a banana. So good!

1230pm: a sad little lunch at my desk. This was thrown together in my morning frenzy (guess I should’ve spent less time on Flipboard…) Beans, avocado, peppers, tomato, and cucumber with balsamic dressing. It was tasty, but it didn’t hold me over for very long.

230pm: Laughing cow cheese, mini pita pockets, and carrots. I love these mini pita pockets from Trader Joe’s!

430pm: Kashi Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. I bought this baby from the cafeteria at work to hold me over through my evening class. I usually keep instant oatmeal on-hand as an emergency snack, but I didn’t have any with me today.

730pm: quinoa pasta, spaghetti squash, and veggies topped with Earth Balance and nutritional yeast.

900pm: To satisfy my sweet tooth, I had a small mug of frozen yogurt drizzled with homemade chocolate peanut butter.

See you soon with a list of things I’m loving right now, a breakdown of my workout schedule, and a new video post!

Thanks for reading 🙂


Remember Me?

16 Aug

Remember me? I’ve come to beg for your forgiveness. I’ve been MIA for too long again. But before you delete me from your Google Reader (if you haven’t already…) give me another chance. A lot has happened since we last talked and all of it has collectively contributed to my long absence.

1. I studied (…and studied, and studied…) for the RD exam.

2. I PASSED the RD exam!

3. We moved.

4. We went on a long trip to Colorado during which I completely fell off the face of the Earth and barely touched technology.

Surprisingly, it was difficult to find my yogi focus at 12,000 ft above sea level 🙂


5. I started not one, but TWO jobs.

6. I finished my summer Exercise Physiology class.

Much more on all of this to come. To make it up to you, I leave you with two recipes that have made several appearances in my life recently.

Vegan Banana Everything Cookies

Substitution: whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour

No-Bake Energy Bites

Can’t wait to experiment and customize this recipe!

(photo from

It feels good to be back. See you SOON.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Addicted To Sweat?

9 Jul

Happy Monday! Hope your week is off to a great start. Today is the start of two weeks of insanity for me. Full explanation on all of that to come.

Let’s back-track to the weekend. JWD and I spent the weekend at his parent’s house. It was a good weekend full of family time and old friends (JWD and I grew up in the same town and have the same childhood friends, making trips “back home” a lot of fun). We went out with friends to see a band on Friday night. JWD was up bright and early on Saturday morning for a 7:30am tee time and my intention was to get up when he left at 6:30am… the next thing I knew, I woke up at 9:30 to an empty house and this weather report:

I haven’t slept that late in ages. I sat on the back porch sipping coffee for a good 20 minutes contemplating a workout in the heat. Hot yoga has made it easier for me to tolerate the heat and I was in the mood to sweat, so I downed some water and half a banana and hit the pavement. Since I was racing the rising thermometer, I went for a timed workout.

5 minute warm-up run

4 sets of 5 minute intervals: I gradually picked up the pace during each 5 minute interval until I hit a full sprint for the last 30 seconds, then returned to a slow jog to start the next interval.

5 minute slow jog to cool down

Total: 30 minutes

I was drenched when I returned, but felt much better.

Post-run overnight oats to cool me down. Loaded with blueberries, blackberries, and banana.

The increasing number of sweaty workouts in my life, my recent need for electrolyte replacement nutrition, and the countless loads of laundry we do each week to keep up with the piles of soaked workout gear brings me to this question: Are we addicted to sweat?

There is nothing more satisfying than wringing the sweat out of my yogitoes after my Vinyasa practices. Sometimes JWD and I will go for runs where “getting a sweat” is our only goal. I honestly feel like my day is not complete without breaking a sweat.

Awhile back, I read an article in the NY Times on this very subject. Hot workouts are all the rage from Bikram Yoga to heated spinning classes, but is all that sweating really a good thing?

Here’s what experts have to say about the claimed benefits of hot and sweaty workouts.

Is a “hot workout” a better workout?

Yes- to a point. Your body has to work harder at higher temps, but anything past 100* is entering the danger zone. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious consequences of of a workout that’s a little too hot.

Does all that sweating detoxify the body?

Not really. Although sweat does contain trace amounts of toxins, heavy sweating is not a reliable method of ridding toxins from the body. The primary purpose of sweat is to cool the body, not detoxify it. Leave detoxification to your liver and kidneys.

Are hot workouts for everyone?

No. Exercising in the heat requires a certain level of fitness and slow acclimatization to higher temperatures. Exercising in heat could be very dangerous for someone with a low fitness level or who isn’t used to it.

The bottom line:

Extra sweaty workouts are best suited for those with a higher fitness level and should be eased in to. Hot workouts should not make you feel dizzy, light-headed, clammy, or nauseous!

If you’re going to amp up the sweat, it’s crucial to replace what you lose. Two easy ways to monitor hydration: 1. Check out your urine color- it should look like pale lemonade. Apple juice-colored urine is an indicator of dehydration. 2. Weigh yourself before and after a workout and replace 150% of what you lost (24oz. of fluid per pound lost). Include sodium and potassium-rich foods in the 24 hours post-workout, especially if you are a “salty sweater”.

For me, sweaty workouts are a way to turn up the intensity. I always compensate my sweat sessions with tons of water, coconut water, electrolyte powder, and foods high in sodium and potassium. I am a really salty sweater (my skin gets coated with a white, gritty residue when I sweat a lot), so that last part is important for me.

Between the sweaty workouts, the hot temps outside, and few nights of cocktails ;), the weekend left me feeling dehydrated. I had a headache most of Sunday, so I skipped my Vinyasa class and opted for plenty of water and rest.

On the drive back to STL, I picked up a Lemonade Vitamin Water Zero at a gas station. It has some electrolytes in it and it’s sweetened with stevia, so I gave it a try.

It was pretty good! I was disappointed when I checked the label more closely in the car and found out it doesn’t have any sodium or potassium (the electrolyte biggies). Case-in-point for why it’s important to investigate those front-of-the-package claims! Flavor-wise, definitely something I’ll try again. My state of dehydration was also a great excuse to partake in some salty Mexican food at one of our favorite spots back in St. Louis, Tortillaria.

I had one fish taco and my fare share of chips and salsa. The rest of the day was spent packing and doing some work. Today I am a prisoner of my desk and my lonnng “To Do” list. Lunch:

Almond butter and half a banana on Ezekiel bread and a peach on the side. It’s rare that my lunch is veggie-less. I foresee a giant green salad for dinner!

See you later in the week for an iced coffee post.

Thanks for reading 🙂

So Many Mini Vacations

6 Jul

Hey, hey! How was your holiday weekend? Mine was very relaxing! Let’s hop back to Friday and see what I did…

I usually kick off my weekend with yoga, but my favorite Friday class was cancelled (boohoo), so JWD and I walked to the park where I led us through our own practice. With the temp nearly 90, it quickly turned into a hot yoga practice!

After yoga, we whipped up a very quick and delicious creation- Veggie Burger Bowls with Avocado Citrus Sauce (sauce recipe post coming soon!).

In the mix: brown rice, crumbled Amy’s veggie burger, and veggies, topped with one of my favorite super easy creamy sauces.

The veg: Anaheim pepper, carrots, zucchini, and parsnips (use what you have on hand!)

The rest of the evening was spent packing and prepping for the weekend.

Saturday morning started bright and early with Kaldi’s Highlander Grogg (my favorite coffee!) and another outdoor yoga practice. My farmer’s market offers a donation-based yoga class, how great is that?! I get to practice under the trees, then meet up with JWD to buy produce and listen to live music. This is why Saturday morning is my favorite time of the week!


This practice was particularly challenging and sweaty. Perfection. Yoga in the heat is the best because your muscles get very loose and stretchy. I was triumphant in three challenging poses.

crow, birds of paradise, and one legged king pigeon

After the market, we packed up and got on the road to JWD’s parent’s house. The trip was spent reuniting with our oldest friends, hanging at the lake, eating incredible food, and enjoying some great family time.

Our Fourth of July meal was especially incredible!

Roasted beet, tofu, spinach & walnut salad, tomato with basil, Asian slaw, salmon, and broccoli- almost all cooked on the grill. Enjoyed with a Schlafly Pale Ale. So yummy!

We are only going to be home a few days this week and our cupboards are bare! JWD’s mom was nice enough to send us home with her pantry surplus. When we got back to the cocoon, I set to work making a meal plan for the week with the ingredients we have.

M- We made farmer’s market grilled veggie sandwiches. Yum! Mine was open-faced.

+ a TJ’s Reduced Guilt Brownie from the freezer. (Tip: I freeze brownies individually in parchment paper for pre-portioned treats that last longer. It’s much easier to pull one serving out of the freezer than it is to resist diving fork first into a giant brownie pan! Eat them frozen or microwave for 10 seconds.)

T- Grilled Stuffed Zucchini

I sliced this GIANT zucchini in half lengthwise and scooped out the inside. Then I diced up the zucchini insides and mixed it with cooked lentils, spinach and Lemon Parsley Cashew Cream (I’ll post this recipe soon). We stuffed the hollowed-out zucchinis with the mixture and threw them on the grill!

(sorry about the sad, dark iPhone photo)

W- Veggie burger bowls + kale chips (I’m filming a kale chip video for you!)

TH- Tomato basil frittata with all the beautiful basil from JWD’s parent’s garden. (This video is coming soon too)

This week in fitness:

M- Weightlifting session actually happened after driving home and before dinner. JWD motivated me.

T- Hot and sweaty run

W- Weightlifting session

TH- Yoga practice + a run

F- Squeezing in a run before the kickoff of another full weekend

Stay tuned for more adventures, recipes, and videos and LIKE the Running on Sunshine Facebook Page for some brain food!

So many food shots, not enough humans! Must take more people pictures.

Thanks for reading 🙂


The Windy City

8 Apr

JWD and I live in St. Louis- a city full of distinct neighborhoods like The Central West End, The Hill, and Soulard, each offering their own hidden gems to explore. It’s a great city, especially for a foodie like myself, but…

There is a special place in our hearts for another city…


Chicago has always been a big part of my life. Born into a family full of die-hard Cub’s fans, I was a frequent visitor from a very young age. It feels like a home away from home.

As soon as we took our first Chicago trip together, JWD fell in love too.

We try to visit at least once a year and we’ve formed many fond memories there. From concerts, to museum visits, to neighborhood food crawls, it truly is one of our favorite cities.

Maybe it’s the progressive nature, maybe it’s the great public transportation system, maybe it’s the lakefront running path, maybe it’s the many, many JCrew and Lululemon stores. 🙂

Or maybe…

… it’s the pizza.

My favorite part of visiting a new city is exploring the food culture, and deep-dish pizza is a necessity when we visit Chicago. Chicago-style pizza is typically made in a deep round pan, so the crust acts as a bowl for insane amounts of cheese, sauce and toppings. It is usually layered with the cheese on the bottom and sauce on the top. It is thick, heavy, and jam-packed with calories- definitely an indulgence.

One lazy spring break day, the longing for deep-dish struck me. Perhaps I was longing for a vacation to my favorite city. Whatever the reason, I decided to listen to my craving and concoct a healthified version of my beloved deep-dish in my own kitchen.

Healthified Deep Dish Pizza


The Crust:

  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (equal to one package)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • About 2 tbsp olive oil + more for greasing pan and coating crust
  • Cornmeal for dusting skillet (optional)

The Toppings:

  • Cheese of choice (I used organic mozzarella and parmesan)
  • Veggies of choice (I used red onion, broccoli, jalapenos, mushrooms, and baby spinach)
  • Pizza or pasta sauce of choice (I always blend a can of whole peeled tomatoes with seasonings)
  • 1/2 block of tempeh


  • Stir the yeast and warm water together until the yeast dissolves.
  • Add sugar, salt, and 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • Slowly add flour and ground flaxseed, stirring until a dough is formed.
  • Shape dough into a ball and knead on a floured surface until dough springs back when poked (about 3-5 minutes). Continue to add flour so dough is workable and not sticky.
  • Place dough ball in a bowl, coat with a light drizzle of olive oil, and cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap.

  • Let rise for 1 hour.
  • While dough is rising, preheat oven to 450* and prepare toppings and sauce. If using tempeh, simply crumble tempeh into sauce by hand.
  • Prepare cast-iron skillet by lightly coating it with olive oil and dusting it with cornmeal (cornmeal is optional).
  • After 1 hour…

  • … punch the dough down and shape it to fit into your cast-iron skillet. I found that this dough made a little too much crust for me, so I pinched off about 1/4 before shaping it into the pan. I refrigerated this 1/4 of the dough and used it to make a mini pizza later in the week.

  • When dough is evenly spread in the skillet, lightly brush it with olive oil and pre-bake it in the oven until you see the first hints of browning (about 10-15 min).
  • Top the pre-baked crust with a layer of cheese, then veggies, then sauce.

  • Put the pizza back into the oven and bake until the crust browns and the sauce appears hot and bubbly (about 10-15 min).

  • Slice into 6-8 pieces and enjoy!

Pre-race dinner, perhaps?

See you tomorrow for a little pre-race post! Thanks for reading 🙂

Good Eats On The Road

2 Jun

Hey there friends! Whew, what a weekend. I hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as I did! Let me start from the beginning…

On Friday I left for Summer Camp, an outdoor music festival full of camping, dirt, environmentalism, beautiful music, and….. great food! Yes, you can have delicious, healthy food while traveling. It just takes a little planning 🙂

~What To Pack, How To Pack It, and What To Do With It
Whether you are on plane, train, or automobile, in a boat, ten or hotel- packing healthy snacks is a must! It’ll stop you from giving in to convenience store junk food, it’ll prevent fast food temptation, and most importantly- it’ll keep you from going hungry!! I spent most of Friday morning packing up the grocery store goodies for the trip. I try to choose things that travel well and are pretty much ready-to-eat.

Fruits and veggies are a great travel snack because they are full of water and fiber to curb between-meal hunger and they satisfy you when travel boredom hits.

Of course we packed some carbs! LOVE this bread. Seeduction from Whole Foods. It’s soft, nutty and grainy with a touch of sweetness. Companion bagels and some unpictured Ezekiel Sprouted Whole Grain Flourless Tortillas.

To pair with our fruits, veggies, and breads we packed plenty of dips and spreads. Nut butters, honey, hummus, and goat cheese.

We also packed a couple high fiber cereals, mini almond milks, and yogurt. Usually we buy yogurt in large containers because it’s cheaper so we were REALLY excited to pick out mini ‘gurts in different flavors. Strawberry, fig, honey, pomegranate, six grains strawberry, and cherry vanilla.

We also packed some unpictured munchies like potato chips, pretzels, and bars.

When traveling, I prefer individual serving sizes so they are ready to go with no labor. Tupperware and plastic baggies become your best friend for traveling foods. I washed and cut all the veggies and stored them in tupperware. I sliced the breads and put them in tupperware. The cereal went in to plastic baggies so they were easier to tote. If you are flying or going on a shorter trip, you can pre-make peanut butter sandwiches or turkey and cheese tortillas, but since we were camping for the whole weekend we brought the whole jars of spreads. In an attempt to be green, we packed reusable knives, spoons, and plastic bowls, but you could also use disposable utensils. We packed the breads, fruits, veggies, ‘gurts, and spreads in a cooler. The type of traveling will designate the type of storage you use- whether it be a large cooler like we used or a small insulated lunch box.

Here are the various meal combos we munched on…

  • veggies and hummus
  • tortilla with nut butter and banana
  • tortilla/sandwich with hummus, goat cheese, cucumbers, greens, and turkey
  • bagel/bread spread with nut butter and honey or goat cheese
  • yogurt with cereal
  • plain fruits, veggies, and bars for mid-meal snacks

Part of the fun of traveling is having NEW food experiences, so we definitely didn’t pass up any opportunities to try something different. The festival had some great food vendors that offered a variety of foods including ethnic foods, vegetarian items, and yummy homemade treats.

One night for dinner we couldn’t pass up this fresh veggie curry pita. The pita was soft and doughy and the filling was spicy and flavorful. I’m going to attempt to replicate it in my own kitchen.

We also shared a late-night snack of homemade fresh cut sweet potato fries. They were a little greasy because I’m used to baked fries, but they were still tasty. (this picture mysteriously disappeared from my camera 😦 )

Another inevitable part of eating while traveling is being faced with indulgences. Here are the 2 questions I ask myself before indulging: 1. Is it something exclusive to this traveling adventure or is it something I can get anytime? 2. Do I really want to splurge on this treat or am I only doing it because it’s in front of me and I’m “on vacation”? One of the vendors was selling homemade ice cream in several different flavors. Ice cream is something I rarely eat, let alone homemade ice cream, so it was definitely a treat for me. I asked myself my two indulgence questons and considering it was 90 degrees outside and I hadn’t had an afternoon snack, I said “Yes please!” to one scoop of homemade cookies and cream ice cream in a cake cone. I enjoyed every melty lick 🙂

I also enjoyed several other indulgences over the weekend: a few ice-cold Goose Island Summertime beers. Yummy!

~Exercising While Traveling

Exercising when you’re traveling is important, especially if you know you’ll be indulging more than usual. If you are on an active vacation (hiking, skiing, sightseeing on foot) then fitting in a litte exercise will be easy! In our case, we walked A LOT and carried A LOT of camping gear a looooong way. I actually felt kind of sore! They also offered free yoga classes twice a day at the festival 🙂 If you are away on business or visiting relatives then exercise might not be the top priority. If you are staying in a hotel, check for a fitness center or pool. You can hop on a cardio machine or swim laps when you have a little free time. No gym? Walk the hotel halls or stairs for 30 minutes. if you are flying, walk as briskly as possible through the airport, take the stairs and skip the people-movers (as long as you aren’t late for your flight!). If you are sightseeing, check for bike rentals or bike tours instead of a bus tour. If you are visiting family or friends, encourage them to join you for a walk after dinner or first thing in the morning. You can get in your daily dose of exercise AND inspire and motivate others with your healthy habits!

I’m looking forward to sharing my first RECIPE POST later this week!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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